Kueh Kueh


We love a certain nonya kueh known to us as Rainbow Kueh or 9-layer kueh or steamed kueh lapis.  Top layer is always a bright red, bottom layer is always white and in between we have beautiful rainbow colors. It is patiently steamed layer by layer until there are 9 layers.  To enjoy it, we peel off layer by layer and savor it one layer at a time.

We love it coz it’s chewy, sticky, sweet, coconuty (not unlike mochi in texture).  However, it’s usually full of artificial coloring.  Every layer is a different color.  We have to limit *sob our intake coz DD has eczema and we suspect artificial coloring and preservatives to be one of the main culprits.

OR! I could make it myself, leaving out all the bad but pretty coloring.  And put in some flax seed meal to boost up the nutritive value.    The result is not pretty.  But never mind the lack of rainbow colors, as long as it tastes good coz  we can always close our eyes when we eat! lol. Anyhow, DD gave it 2 thumbs up.  “It’s soooo yummmmy!” Her words, not mine. 8D


No-Coloring  9-Layer Kueh with Flax Seed Meal

180 g tapioca starch

20 g rice flour

1/4 cup flax seed meal

400 ml coconut milk

160 ml water

1/4 tsp salt

200 g sugar

pandan leaves

Boil pandan leaves with water for a few minutes, then discard leaves.  Stir in sugar, coconut milk, and the rest of the ingredients.

Grease an 8″square pan with coconut oil.  Prepare the steamer.  Heat up the pan in the steamer.  When steamer is ready, stir batter, spoon in about 100 ml of batter and steam 5 min.  Spoon in another 100 ml of batter on top of the 1st layer and steam another 5 min.   Remember to stir batter each time before using. Repeat this till all batter is used up. Steam 10 min for the last layer.  Remove from steamer and leave to cool.

There is a trick to removing it from the pan.  Use a piece of cling wrap and place it on top of the kueh.  Flip the pan upside down.  Now you are holding the kueh in your hand. Gently pry the kueh away from the sides of the pan.  The whole thing should come off easily and plop onto your hand. Viola!

Now, about slicing it.  It’s a sticky situation (pun intended, heheh).  There’s also a trick to slicing.  Using a large knife, position and press it down.  No sawing motions, please.  Just press down and it’s done.  If you don’t want to end up with a sticky knife, you may even put a piece of cling wrap on top and press your knife down.  It won’t cut through the cling wrap but will cut through your kueh. Viola again!

Remember to peel off each and every layer and savor it layer by layer.

Store leftovers in the fridge.  It’ll still be soft the next day.


Steamed Coconut Muffins – vegan



I like simple cakes.  Satisfaction level from eating simple cakes (cakes made by one bowl, one spoon method) for me is about 80%.  Satisfaction level from eating elaborate cakes (involves electric mixer) is about 90-100%.  Given that the difference is quite little, all things considered, I think I’d prefer to choose to make simple cakes. Ha ha.

Steaming cake is another way of “baking” for those who do not own an oven.  Think of it this way: instead of using dry heat, you’d be using moist heat.

One doesn’t need a special electric steamer to steam food.  You just need a big pot.  Fill it to about an inch or two of water.  Put in a steamer stand or if you don’t have one, make do with a bowl and then a plate on top of the bowl.  That’ll work too. Steamed food is healthier too as baking is one of the cooking method suspected to cause cancer.

This steamed coconut muffin is local fare.  We call it huat (read as ‘what’) kueh.  It’s basically a steamed muffin with a characteristic split at the top. There are various varieties and this is just a rich coconut version I came up with over the years.

Steamed Coconut Muffin (makes about 4-5 muffins)

40-80g sugar

130 g self-raising flour

130 ml coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp pandan essence/vanilla/coffee

A few drops of coloring

Mix everything together until well blended.  Then scoop batter into muffin cases.  Fill it up almost to the brim.  Then steam in rapidly boiling water for about 10 min.

It’s a really simple steamed muffin, easily put together with minimal fuss.  If you are craving for cake pronto, this is the one for you.   One bowl, one spoon and ready in about 15 min from start to finish.  Satisfaction level, 80%.




Kaya Kueh with Pulot Hitam


When I was young, this was my mom’s hit recipe. Everybody loved her Kaya kueh. She would get me to pound the pandan leaves to get its extract. It was hard work extracting pandan essence. The leaves don’t yield much juice. I had to squeeze the leaves really hard just to get that one little drop. When artificial pandan essence was made available, I was all over it. However, in recent years, I have realised that nothing beats the real deal.  However, I am still allergic to pounding and squeezing the leaves.  Instead, I would boil the leaves in a little water and use the water.  I think it works.

My mom’s recipe uses white glutinous rice.  I mixed mine with black because  I read that black glutinous rice is more nutritious than white.  The kaya (custard) part is usually green but I decided to go au naturel in my bid to cut down on unnecessary colorings and additives.  So it got it’s glorious yellow color from the egg yolks.


Pulot Hitam Kaya Kueh

300g (about 2 rice cups) black glutinous rice (soaked about 3 hours)

150g (about 1 rice cup) white glutinous rice (soaked about 3 hours)

500 ml thin/diluted coconut milk

1/2 tsp salt

pandan leaves or pandan essence

Mix all together and pour into a greased 8″ square pan.  Steam for about 1/2 hour or till rice is cooked.  Remove the pandan leaves. Then using a spoon, press down the rice firmly to kind of flatten them.  This step is to make the rice a bit compact to prevent the custard from seeping into the rice part (I found out the hard way).

Kaya (custard) part

6 eggs

3 tbsp corn flour

4 tbsp plain flour

425 g sugar

400 ml coconut milk

50 ml water (for boiling pandan leaves)

2 leaves or pandan essence

Boil the pandan leaves in the 50ml water.  Remove the leaves.  Then mix everything well together.  Pour the batter on top of the hot rice, through a sieve to ensure a smooth custard.  Then steam for about 1/2 h or until the custard is cooked.

Cool before slicing.

This makes an 8″ square pan size.  Which is plenty for sharing with about 6 -8 people. Depending on how many second helpings everyone wants, of course. 8D